40 Jumps Horses To Follow (Part 3)
- Part three of our 40 National Hunt horses to follow during the 2021/22 season
- The third part of our series features ten top prospects from across various yards in Britain and Ireland
- McFabulous and My Drogo could be competing for Grade One honours over fences this season
- Mighty Potter and Masaccio look like excellent novice hurdles prospects
Harry Skelton riding My Drogo clear the last to win The Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree. (Getty)
Before the new National Hunt season officially kicks off, we’ve picked out 40 top prospects to follow. These horses come from various yards from across Britain and Ireland, and range from talented novices to more established names who look set to shine during the upcoming campaign.
Part three features ten more horses to follow in 2021/22. Here's the next list of names for your tracker.
- 40 To Follow – Part Three
- Masaccio (Alan King)
- McFabulous (Paul Nicholls)
- Mighty Potter (Gordon Elliott)
- Minella Drama (Donald McCain)
- My Drogo (Dan Skelton)
- Noble Yeats (Emmet Mullins)
- Pimlico Point (Kerry Lee)
- Phoenix Way (Harry Fry)
- Proschema (Dan Skelton)
- Ribble Valley (Nicky Richards)
Table Of Contents
40 To Follow – Part Three
My Drogo2022 Festival Novices' ChaseGET 10/1 HERE
New customers only. 18+ T&Cs and wagering requirements apply.
Masaccio (Alan King)
As fog set in around the racecourse on a cold, November evening at Doncaster, MASACCIO made a lovely impression when pulling clear to beat a future winner on his first start under rules. Alan King’s youngster wasn’t seen again until the card-closing bumper on Scottish Grand National day. Masaccio ran keen under a penalty that day and had plenty to do turning for home. Stuart Crawford raider, Vina Ardanza claimed the £5k prize, but it was Masaccio who really caught the eye, staying on to finish a close second.
This powerfully built grey was initially due to run on the flat for Stradivarius’ owner Bjorn Nielsen, but was gelded in 2019 and sold on to the McNeill family. Although many of his siblings have reached high marks on the level, I’m expecting this son of Mastercraftsman to take well to hurdling and he’s certainly a young, improving horse worth following.
McFabulous (Paul Nicholls)
While he may have achieved plenty over hurdles, the time is right to send the talented MCFABULOUS over fences. At one stage last season, Paul Nicholls’ star looked like a potential challenger in the Stayers’ Hurdle. Sadly, results petered out a little in the spring, with McFabulous losing out convincingly to Brewin’Upastorm when giving away a penalty in the National Spirit Hurdle, before fading away down the straight to finish eighth in the Aintree Hurdle.
Those results were disappointing, but they did tell us two important things. Firstly, McFabulous needs three miles, and secondly, he’s a much better horse going right-handed than left. Big races at Cheltenham and Aintree may not be the target for Nicholls’ seven-year-old this season. However, prestigious races like the Rising Stars, the Reynoldstown, the Scilly Isles and the Kauto Star Novices’ Chases will pop up on McFabulous’ radar.
Mighty Potter (Gordon Elliott)
Owners Andrew and Gemma Brown have several talented horses in training with Gordon Elliott at the moment, including Chemical Energy and Grand Paradis, who featured in part two of their series. Another runner to catch the eye in their red and white silks last season was MIGHTY POTTER, who was fancied to win on debut at Punchestown in March and made no mistakes under Jamie Codd.
The form of that bumper looks, quite frankly, terrible, but that doesn’t take the gloss off what was a very stylish performance by Elliott’s four-year-old. Mighty Potter is a half-brother to 150-rated hurdler French Dynamite and he’s by a top National Hunt sire in Martaline. Expect to see this speedy youngster challenging for some lucrative prizes during his first season over hurdles.
Minella Drama (Donald McCain)
I nicknamed MINELLA DRAMA “The Helicopter” in an article last season, due to his tendency to flash and propel his tail around in the closing stages. Given he displayed such juvenile traits throughout the campaign, that fact that Donald McCain’s youngster managed to win the Sydney Banks Novices’ Hurdle and finish second in both the Rossington Main and the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree is some feat.
The application of a hood for his final two outings really did work a treat, so I expect to see that headgear remains in-place as Minella Drama sets out in novice chases in the coming weeks. He’s certainly got the size and scope to jump fences well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCain step his stable star up to three miles before the end of the season.
My Drogo (Dan Skelton)
Minella Drama was no match for MY DROGO when they met at the Grand National meeting. Dan Skelton’s rising star went into that Grade One as the 5/4 favourite, having bolted up in the Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso the previous month. Four or five were still in with a shout as they approached the second-last at Aintree, but once Harry Skelton unleashed his mount, the favourite put the race to bed very, very easily.
My Drogo is built like a chaser, he’s by a top sire in Milan and his dam, My Petra won the 1965 Chase back in 2008 for Nicky Henderson. Dan Skelton has said on a number of occasions that My Drogo could be a future Gold Cup horse and, from what we’ve seen so far, you can hardly say that’s an impossible dream. He’s got all the attributes to go right to the summit of this wonderful sport.
Noble Yeats (Emmet Mullins)
Runner-up on his sole start between the flags, NOBLE YEATS progressed quickly last season. Emmet Mullins’ youngster won a bumper by 19-lengths in January, before finishing sixth behind Kilcruit at the Dublin Racing Festival. Noble Yeats then hacked up on his hurdles debut at Navan in March, thrashing Mr Josiey Wales – who won by miles on his next start – by a commanding 12-lengths.
I had hoped to get this series live before any of the horses I’d shortlisted had run, so I was slightly disappointed when Noble Yeats was confirmed in a Beginners Chase at Galway on Tuesday. Brian Hayes’ mount was sent off as the third-favourite, with punters preferring Magic Daze and Gabynako. Noble Yeats looked to be labouring in fourth after a slow jump at the second-last, only to find an extra gear or two on the climb for home and snatch a narrow victory.
The ground was probably a little too quick, and the 18-and-a-half trip a little too sharp for Mullins’ charge that day, and he was still able to beat two classy opponents. He’s a Group One-quality chaser in the making and, like My Drogo and Minella Drama, could end up running in the Festival Novices' Chase.
Pimlico Point (Kerry Lee)
Horses who win as impressively between the flags for Colin Bowe as PIMLICO POINT did back in May are usually snapped up by the likes of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott. So, it was quite the surprise to read that Kerry Lee had splashed out £160k to purchase this son of Flemensfirth at the Cheltenham sales nine days later.
Pimlico Point is the first foal out of Royale Flag, who won the Grade One Prix Maurice Gillois by eight lengths in 2014. Lee isn’t known for having winners in bumpers, so don’t be surprised if this promising youngster goes straight over hurdles when he eventually makes his racecourse debut.
Phoenix Way (Harry Fry)
Despite staying every inch of 25 furlongs on his final hurdles appearance at Huntingdon, Harry Fry started PHOENIX WAY out over two miles when he made his novice chase debut last season. Fry’s eight-year-old managed to win that day, before being pulled up in the Henry VIII at Sandown in December having burst a blood vessel.
Fry then pitched Phoenix Way into the Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in the spring, where Aidan Coleman’s mount kept on from the rear of the field to finish fourth behind Protektorat. I think we’ve barely scratched the surface of what this talented eight-year-old could achieve over fences. If he enters a three-mile handicap, on juicy ground, off his current mark of 145, I wouldn’t want to side against him.
Proschema (Dan Skelton)
PROSCHEMA is another who’s yet to reach his full potential over obstacles. Rated as high as 105 on the flat, Dan Skelton’s charge only ran three times as a novice hurdler in 2019, and was pulled up on his second start last season in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Following a couple of confidence-boosting wins in Bumpers For Jumpers at Newcastle over the winter, Proschema bolted up in a two-and-a-half mile handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in April, before beating classy rivals like Sebastapol and Giovanni Change to score at Aintree on his final outing of the season.
I truly believe that stepping up to three miles will be the making of this horse. Proschema remains well treated off his current mark of 142 and could be an ideal candidate for a race like the Pertemps Final at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. I can smell a Dan Skelton plot-job in the offing.
Ribble Valley (Nicky Richards)
Clearly, RIBBLE VALLEY is very hard to keep right. Nicky Richards has only managed to run his eight-year-old eight times under rules and only appeared twice at the start of last season. On those two occasions, Ribble Valley was hugely impressive. First, handing a sound thrashing to Nickolson and Molly Ollys Wishes in an Intermediate Hurdle at Carlisle. Richards then threw his star into the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, where he was outpaced by Epatante and Sceau Royal and did well to hang on to third.
Despite his problems off the track, Ribble Valley has managed to win five of his eight starts under rules and has reached a hurdle rating of 147. When he eventually makes his return to action, and I sincerely hope his injury problems are behind him, I’d love to see this strapping eight-year-old attack a fence. Ribble Valley could be a high-quality recruit to the novice chasing ranks in 2021/22.